Monday, December 5, 2011


“You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.”
John Lennon

I have been corresponding with economist Paul Samuelson’s sister-in-law about his parents as well as an intern at Duke University’s manuscript library, where his papers are. Frank, his father, moved to Gary in 1911 when the owner of Economical Drug Store wanted to go to medical school in Chicago. So they traded positions. Dr. Antonio Giorgi, whom I wrote about in “Gary’s First Hundred years,” had an office above the pharmacy, became good friends with him, and sent patients downstairs to have their prescriptions filled. In 1915 he delivered Paul, Frank and Ella’s second son, in his office and expressed the wish that he be named Antonio. The parents settled on the name of Giorgi’s son Paul and chose Anthony as the middle name in honor of the physician. Later when he obtained his birth certificate, Samuelson discovered that Giorgi had put down Antonio, not Anthony, as his middle name. The pharmacy flourished during the war years but encountered financial difficulties during the early 1920s. In 1923 there were more than two dozen drugstores in Gary, including several within eyesight of the Economical Drug Store

I saw “J. Edgar” starring Matt Damon as the racist FBI director (in FDR’s opinion, one of the two most dangerous people in the county during the 1930s and beyond, along with General Douglas MacArthur. Some of the scenes seemed contrived and inaccurate, in particular a depiction of the so-called 1919 Centralia Massacre that took place on Armistice Day. Wesley Everest fired on WW I vets only after they took a detour from and parade route and attacked Wobbly headquarters, while the film portrayed Wobbly “terrorists” shooting the vets as they were marching along the parade route. Everest was seized from jail and lynched, but Hoover never was concerned about radicals or blacks being lynched. In the film Hoover learns about JFK’s death while listening to a tape of Martin Luther King having sex in a motel room and supposedly informs brother Bobby about it in a single sentence and then hangs up on him. Concerning Hoover’s alleged homosexual relationship, in the movie second-in-command Clyde Tolson attacks J. Edgar when the latter says he’s thinking about getting married and then gives him a kiss on his bloody mouth. Judi Dench gives a chilling performance as Hoover’s controlling mother, and director Clint Eastwood is judicious in not turning Hoover into a mere caricature. Rather than a moral paragon, as Hoover sought to be remembered, he was a megalomaniac totally bent on advancing his power and image. Two things would seem contrived if not for the fact that they were true – Hoover never forgiving Melvin Purvis for catching bank robber John Dillinger and his loving the horse races because the track owners didn’t make him pay if he lost.

Knowing I am a Redskin fan, Ron Cohen gave me a “NY Review of Books” article on Thomas G. Smith’s “Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins.” Owner George Marshall, who moved the team from Boston in 1937, was a notorious racist who had one part-Indian coach dress up in war paint and feathers for home games and commissioned a fight song that contained the line, “Scalp ’um, swamp ’um, we will take ’um big score.” JFK’s Interior Secretary Stewart Udall forced Marshall to integrate his team as a condition of using a new stadium built on federal land.

Herman Cain finally bowed out of the Presidential race by using a quote taken from a Donna Summers song, “The Power of One,” used in the 2000 “Pokemon” movie, to wit: “"Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, it's never easy when there is so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference.” Writing “No wonder he said he was a leader not a reader,” Ray Smock compared the statement to Newt Gingrich’s admiration for the Power Rangers, adding: “I don’t give a hoot about his affairs with women as long as they were consensual. The man was dumb as a post. The fact that people thought him inspiring and even smart makes me fear for the nation’s sanity. Thank God Pokémon, Power Rangers, computer games, or even movies were not around when Abe Lincoln was learning by candlelight.”

I traveled to Elkhart Saturday for former student Shannon Pontney’s wedding. The invitation had Jimi Hendricks on the cover and included musings by John Lennon. My first and best supplemental instructor and a big Voodoo Chili fan, she looked dazzling. The unique ceremony featured second district Congressman Joe Donnelly marrying her and Hodge (who works for him). They wrote their vows themselves and did a great first dance routine. Shannon used to work in Admissions, and several IUN personnel were at our table, as well as two artists, including Julian Alcantar, a talented “abstract evolutionist” who showed me some of his work on his IPhone. Most tables were named for rock stars like David Bowie and Steve Winwood, but ours was the Frida Kahlo table, named for the brilliant Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a bisexual communist who was married to muralist Diego Rivera. The head table was named for Shannon’s dad Rich, who died a few months ago after a fall at work. I talked to Congressman Donnelly about his intention to run for the Senate in 2012 against either Senator Richard Lugar or his wingnut Tea Party challenger Richard Mourdock. He is friends with Sheriff Dominguez and was pleased to hear about his autobiography “Valor.”

Tom Wade won a trio of board games Sunday before I triumphed in Dominion, using a simple but remarkably effective strategy. Bears totally sucked in succumbing to the lowly Chiefs, 10-3, surrendering a Hail Mary TD on the final play of the first half. The game was utterly without any redeeming merit, as disgusting as poorly made porn.

A woman called to ask if I could tell her the name of a life insurance company on the northeast corner of Fifth and Broadway during the Fifties. Using a Gary City Directory I found the names of three on the second floor of the Marshall House Building at 21 East Fifth: American States Insurance, Bankers Life and Casualty, and the Thomas C Stimple Agency. She’s looking to locate a missing policy, and I wished her luck.

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